NNA members approve slate of officers during annual meeting

Kate Decker

Oct 21, 2022

NNA gavel passed: John Galer (left), publisher of The Journal-News in Hillsboro, Illinois, was elected chair of the National Newspaper Association during its 136th annual meeting in San Francisco. He had been vice chair. Galer succeeds Brett Wesner (right), president of Wesner Publications in Cordell, Oklahoma, who became immediate past chair and will serve on the ex-officio board.
The NNA Foundation president’s gavel passed from Matt Adelman (left), publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget to Mike Fishman (forefront right), publisher, Lakeway Publishers in Morristown, Tennessee. Adelman became vice president. In the background, past presidents John Galer (background left), NNA chair, and Steven Haynes (background right), Haynes Publishing, Inc, Oberlin, Kansas, join them in celebrating.

PENSACOLA, Florida — John Galer, publisher of The Journal-News in Hillsboro, Illinois, was elected chair of the National Newspaper Association during its 136th annual meeting in San Francisco. He had been vice chair.

The Galer family came to the Journal in 1945 when John’s grandfather, Del, took over production management duties. John’s father, Phillip Galer, purchased the Journal’s first offset press in 1968. He and John, along with numerous others, helped expand the business during the ’70s and ’80s. Two weekly shoppers, Macoupin County Journal and M & M Journal, were started during that time. They also bought the Raymond (Illinois) News, and in 1996, John took over the responsibilities of publisher for the operation.

In 2004, John and his wife, Susan, bought the Montgomery County News, also in Hillsboro, and merged that publication and staff into the Journal operation. The Journal-News, a 6,000-circulation, twice weekly, has been well received throughout the community and is a community advocate.

"I’ve been involved in NNA activities for nearly 30 years and always felt strongly that our commitment to government affairs was the strength of this organization,” John said. “Involvement in our Congressional Action team and our government affairs summit in Washington, D.C., each year were always important.”  

He continued, “Just two years ago we transformed both NNA and the NNA Foundation, moving many of the programs of NNA to the foundation. This was done to streamline and allow the NNA to adequately manage, pursue and have more impact in our lobbying efforts to promote government programs and actions beneficial to our newspaper industry.

“I’m excited to work with the team we have assembled in working towards the success of the industry challenges for our member newspapers."

John succeeds Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications in Cordell, Oklahoma, who became immediate past chair and will serve on the ex-officio board.

Jeff Mayo, publisher/president of Cookson Hills Publishers in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, was elected vice chair. He had been treasurer.

Mayo is a third-generation newspaper publisher. Five of the last six generations of his family have been in the newspaper business in Oklahoma and Arkansas. His grandparents, the late Wheeler and Florence Mayo, started the Sequoyah County Times in 1932. His father, Jim Mayo, took over the newspaper in the early 1970s. Jeff came back into the business in 2003 and became publisher in 2016.

Martha Diaz Aszkenazy, publisher of the San Fernando (California) Valley Sun and El Sol Newspapers (the Sun), was named treasurer.

Martha and her husband Severyn purchased The Sun over 20 years ago. It has a long history and strong reputation in the San Fernando Valley.  Its reporters continue to employ sound journalism practices and focus on hyper local issues that affect the community.

Martha believes in the importance of a free press and the role a newspaper plays in keeping a community informed.  For this reason, its staff takes on tough issues even though backlash may ensue.  In addition to being in print, the Sun has a website and Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Elected to the board as directors for two-year terms were CherryRoad Technologies’ Jeremy Gulban and APG’s Jeff Patterson.

Gulban has led CherryRoad Technologies since 2008. CherryRoad is a second-generation, family-owned business based in Parsippany, New Jersey. Jeremy has worked at the company his entire career, having started out as the accounts payable manager while still in college. Upon graduating from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey in 1997 with a B.A in Economics with a Minor in Political Science he moved into the systems integration side of the business. In this role he helped large scale commercial and public sector enterprises improve business processes and implement complex financial and procurement systems.

Jeff Patterson serves as the president of the central division within Adams Publishing Group, leading the division since November 2016. He currently works with regional presidents and publishers from within the APG Media of Minnesota, APG Media of Southern Minnesota, APG Media of Wisconsin, and APG Media of the Rockies groups. Prior to his current role, Patterson served as a Regional President at APG Media of Wisconsin beginning in July 2014. As part of the Annual Convention & Trade Show, NNA members will vote at their annual meeting of the business breakfast on Saturday, Oct. 8 in San Francisco. The NNAF board will vote on their slate of officers and directors at their annual meeting on Thursday, October 6, 2022.

Re-elected to the board as directors were Reed Anfinson, president of the Swift County Monitor-News in Benson, Minnesota; Beth Bennett, executive director of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association; William (Bill) Jacobs, Jacobs Properties, Brookhaven, Mississippi; J. Louis “Louie” Mullen, Blackbird LLC, Buffalo, Wyoming; and Bradley Thompson II, Detroit Legal News.

Anfinson is an NNA past president and a 2019 recipient of the James O. Amos Award, recognized as one of the highest and most dignified tributes in community journalism. Anfinson graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications, now known as Hubbard School of Journalism. He is also a 2016 graduate of the MNI/MNA Editors and Publishers Community Leadership program, which is funded by a generous grant from the Blandin Foundation.

Bennett serves as chief lobbyist for the WNA and oversees all association functions, including finances, staffing, member resources and member programming. Her family published four newspapers in central Illinois, resulting in her being personally and professionally involved in the newspaper industry.

Jacobs is the former publisher and owner of The Daily Leader in Brookhaven, Mississippi. In years past, he has served as treasurer of the National Newspaper Association Foundation.

Mullen, who lives in Buffalo, Wyoming, with his wife and children, owns more than 30 newspapers in seven states. He grew up in the industry, starting as a paperboy for the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal at 4 years old and serving in every position in a newspaper from janitor to reporter to publisher.

Thompson is chair of Detroit Legal News Co. and is a founding board member of the Public Notice Resource Center (PNRC), which was established in 2002. He is a resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is a member of the fifth generation of his family to lead the publicly traded Michigan company. The Detroit Legal News Co. publishes 10 newspapers in Michigan. Thompson is also chair of Printing Industries of America and a director for the Michigan Press Association.

Adelman, NNA Executive Director Lynne Lance, Matt Paxton – publisher of the News-Gazette in Lexington, Virginia – and NNA’s Director of Public Policy Tonda F. Rush will serve on the ex-officio board.

The National Newspaper Association represents 1,600+ community newspapers across the United States.


The National Newspaper Association Foundation (NNAF) is the educational arm of the NNA. Its mission is to promote news literacy, protect the First Amendment, and enhance the quality, role and capabilities of community newspapers and community journalists.

At the annual meeting held during the annual convention, NNA members also approved the following slate of NNA Foundation officers:

The president’s gavel passed from Matt Adelman, publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget to Mike Fishman, publisher, Lakeway Publishers in Morristown, Tennessee. Adelman became vice president; Randy Keck, The Community News in Aledo, Texas, was elected treasurer.

“It is an honor to serve the NNAF,” Fishman said. “I look forward to continuing our efforts of supporting community newspapers.  The foundation board is committed to providing educational opportunities that support our industry.”

He continued, “It our intention to provide training in all areas of the newspaper.  In doing so, the NNAF is confident creditable local journalism will remain a vital part in all our communities for many years to come.”

Re-elected for two-year terms were Clara Garcia, Valencia County News-Bulletin, Belen, New Mexico; Janis Ware, The Atlanta Voice; Jeanie Hankins, The Wickenburg (Arizona) Sun; and Jeanne Straus, StrausNews, Chester, New York.

Members elected new directors for one-year terms: Patrick “Pat” Wood, Kate Oliver and Julie B. Maglio.

Wood is the chief executive officer and publisher of Multi Media Channels LLC, a Wisconsin media company that owns 23 weekly newspapers and 17 websites in central and northern Wisconsin. He also is the CEO of Extraordinary American Products LLC, which owns the Nicolet Coffee and Nicolet Foods. Patrick specializes in strategic planning and marketing communications programs. With over 20 years of experience running agency communications programs, Patrick knows how to manage consumer, retail, and business-to-business markets. His account experience prior to founding Wood Marketing and Communications Inc. includes Heinz, Nestle, Stouffers, Revlon, PharMor, and Chevron.

Oliver is the general manager for the Rappahannock Record in Kilmarnock, Virginia. She has directed operations in the front office as well as circulation services, accounts payable, and payroll at the Record and Sentinel. Oliver focuses on sales management with the advertising staffs at both offices. A certified public accountant, Oliver worked with an Urbanna accounting firm for several years and later offered part-time accounting services in her home. She is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.

Maglio is not just the editor of The Hernando Sun; she also owns and publishes the paper. She has learned the newspaper business on the job and is becoming very knowledgeable on full-page ads, double trucks, above the fold, and all things related to the business. Julie is from a family of artists and is accomplished as a large format mixed media painter. Her artistic talents were displayed in some of the earlier papers in the form of cartoons but currently are only displayed in layout and ad design.